Veronica Mars is a show that I didn’t really start watching until recently over the last few years. The name kind of turned me off when it came out. On the surface it looked like a show that I just wouldn’t appreciate because I was far removed from High School. I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong, and boy was I wrong. This show unfortunately was killed off well before it should have, but at least it had 2 really good seasons and one so-so one (Damn you Piz!). With the modern miracle of crowdfunding we now have a true follow-up to the show.
For many fans, I’m sure lyrics to the TV show’s theme song are a perfect way to describe how they feel about Veronica Mars. “A long time ago, we used to be friends, but I haven’t thought of you lately at all”. The movie itself shares the same narrative theme. The movie starts out with Veronica in NY, having left Neptune after her first year at Hearst College 9 years ago. Due to reasons I won’t spoil, she travels back to Neptune to help an old friend she hadn’t spoken to that entire time.
For those that aren’t familiar with the show, it was about a girl named Veronica Mars that worked part time for her father’s detective agency. Aside from helping her father on his cases, a lot of work came from her high school/college classmates in the fictional town of Neptune, California. While the show looked like it was made for teeny boppers, it had a much more adult feel to it.
If you were a fan of the show the movie feels right. It felt like watching a really long episode of Veronica Mars without commercials. Even if you weren’t a fan of the show, you can still enjoy the film because it doesn’t really require a lot of knowledge of the show to appreciate it. Rob Thomas wrote and directed a really solid film.
It wasn’t perfect though. Now that I’ve been able to sleep on what I’ve seen and think it over, there were a few relationship things that didn’t quite make sense. Here’s a spoiler warning for those that plan on seeing the film. Near the beginning of the movie it’s revealed that Piz and Veronica started dating again about a year before the movie begins. Later in the film Piz breaks up with her, and Veronica isn’t doesn’t act very Veronica like. Not one tear was shed. No ice cream was purchased. Nothing. She just kept doing her job like it hadn’t happened, which felt a bit odd. I know what the director was going for, but I don’t feel like he completely earned it. If it was a show with more time on its hands, instead of a movie I bet more emotional issues could have been addressed.
Back in 2010, Rob Thomas approached Warner Bros. about getting the movie made, but at the time the studio had no interest. So Rob Thomas and others in the cast came up with an idea to crowdfund the movie via Kickstarter. The Kickstarter for Veronica Mars raised 5.7 Million dollars, with over 91,000 backers. It set the record for the highest amount of backers in Kickstarter history, and nearly a year later the record still stands. It makes you wonder if Joss Whedon has thought about this for Firefly.
Unfortunately not everything is rosy with the Kickstarter and some fans, myself included are feeling a bit burned. Many of the rewards were supposed to include a digital download of the movie. Many fans were expecting it to be similar to what Louis CK does for his standup specials, where they send you a download code, and then you can do what you want with it. It was recently revealed in the most recent Kickstarter update, that the film will be distributed to those backers via Flixster. Flixster is not a download service, it is a streaming service meant to be used with phone’s and tablets. Getting it to play on your TV is going to be a chore for some. There is a way to get the file offline to your computer, but it more of a workaround and not really optimal. To top it off the digital codes still hasn’t been sent out to most fans yet. Some Kickstarter backers are now turning towards piracy instead where it’s much easier to download the movie they paid for.
On the theatrical front, Warner Bros. is showing the movie in 270 AMC theaters across America starting today. If it does well enough they will open it up to more theaters. I attended a fan screening event last night where they gave away T-shirts and lanyards to all attendees. Before the movie started they showed some footage that was filmed at the NY Red Carpet event just this past Monday. It was a nice experience to watch the movie with other fans of the show. For a crowd that was full of thirty-somethings, there was a lot of school girl giggling going on.
If you are a fan of the show, I really recommend the theater experience just to enjoy it with your fellow Marshmallows. If you aren’t as big of a fan, sitting at home and watching on your small screen is just fine. You can purchase Veronica Mars to watch just about anywhere. It’s available on Flixster, iTunes, Amazon, and Video on Demand. In two weeks on March 25th a sequel to the movie is getting released as a novel. The book is titled Veronica Mars: An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line. I’m going to an audiobook version which is narrated by Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell.